Harry Potter

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I began reading the Harry Potter series after five books had been published.

I picked up my nephew Noah's omnibus and read it non-stop in a couple of days.

The sixth volume was released while I was in Fiji. It kept me company all the way home on a 14-hour flight and a half-day layover in Los Angeles.

A friend loaned me the seventh volume, which I read, in part, while driving home on the Thruway from a meeting in Delaware.

I've seen all eight movies in the theater and have watched parts of them on TV.

Positive

I very much enjoy stories of children growing up, falling in love, and entering into adulthood. I guess they take me back to my own childhood and help me remember my own growing up days with affection and gratitude.

When I entered the Catholic school system for the first time in the middle of sixth grade, and again when I attended Canisius High School run by the Jesuits in Buffalo, New York, I profited tremendously from the disciplined and demanding environment. The affection that the students have for Hogwarts and for their headmaster reminds me of my happiest school days.

The magical world resembles Lord of the Rings in some respects. Rowland frequently surprised and delighted me with the way that she re-imagined the elements of fairy tales.

I love Hagrid, the half-giant.

The special effects in the movies were generally excellent.

Negative

The books refer to Christmas celebrations, but they are utterly secular and devoid of religious meaning.

I hated the fact that Snape murders Dumbledore. Rowland condones euthanasia and therefore, in principle, suicide.

The metaphysics of "splitting a soul" and storing the pieces in containers that can be destroyed is philosophically absurd. This is essentially a form of animism. It uses a Hindu view of the soul, as if the soul had no relation to the body and can be "contained" in material things or move from one vehicle to another. This is profoundly antagonistic to the Catholic understanding that the soul is the form of the body and that the human soul is created directly and personally by God at the moment of conception.

The vision of the afterlife in the final film is also essentially Hindu, not Christian.

I grew weary of Rowling's use of the device of eavesdropping as a way of providing exposition and accelerating the plot while reading the first five novels. I expected to find it used in the last two novels and was not surprised when she resorted to it again. This shows a shallowness of imagination on her part.

Rowling's discussion of the sexuality of the characters after the final book was published was disheartening, to say the least.

In one movie, Harry says: "I am the Chosen One." Chosen by what or by whom?

The theology of the series is baffling, at best. They have Christmas without Christ, a "Chosen One" without a Chooser, judgment after death without a Judge, and salvation without a Savior.

The Movies

  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)

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